Sign Variance Process

1. An applicant for a sign variance must submit a complete application and the appropriate application fee.

2. In addition to the application, the applicant must submit the following materials:  

A. A legal description of the property being proposed for the variance.

B. A summary explaining the need for the variance being sought.

C. An abbreviated, scaled, site plan showing the nature of the variance request, including, but not limited to:

1. property boundaries

2. existing and proposed buildings or structures

3. the location(s) of the proposed sign(s)

4. unusual physical features of the site

5. abutting streets

D. A drawing of the proposed sign(s) indicating the size, dimensions, materials, height and letter height.

3. A variance request must be submitted to the Planning Department at least fifteen (15) days prior to the desired Zoning Board of Appeals date.  This time frame is necessary because of State law requirements for advertising and providing public notice to property owners surrounding the variance request.

4. State law requires the township to advertise the variance notice at least once before the request is brought to the Zoning Board of Appeals for public hearing.  The notice must be placed in the newspaper at least 5 days before the public hearing.

5. At least five days before the public hearing, a public notice must be sent to all surrounding property owners within 300 feet of the proposed variance.  This notice will indicate the nature of the proposed request, as well as the time, date and location of the public hearing.

6. At least five days before the public hearing, the Planning Department will issue the agenda for the public hearing and a staff report regarding the applicant’s request.  These items will be mailed directly to the applicant and should be received at least one (1) day prior to the meeting.

7. Your attendance to the public hearing is strongly suggested.  If you cannot attend, you should have someone attend on your behalf.

8. At the public hearing, the Planning Department will review each variance request to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  This review will include an analysis of the request, and a recommendation on how the variance can be resolved.

9. Once the Department has completed their review of the project, the applicant is given the opportunity to address the Zoning Board of Appeals about the variance.  (Should you require specific audio or visual equipment to make your presentation, please contact the Planning Department at 949-0224.  Your request must be received at least two (2) business days prior to the scheduled meeting.)

10. After the applicant has completed his/her presentation, the Zoning Board of Appeals may ask questions about the proposed variance request.  When this question period is completed, the Zoning Board of Appeals will open the public hearing in which surrounding property owners may comment on the request or simply ask questions about the proposal.

11. When the public hearing is completed, the Zoning Board of Appeals will discuss the request once again, in an effort to reach a decision.  Before rendering a positive decision regarding the variance, the Zoning Board must determine that the request satisfies all of the following findings:

A. A literal application of the Sign Ordinance would not allow the property to be used at its highest and best use as zoned.

B. The granting of the requested variance would not be materially detrimental to the property owners in the vicinity.

C. The literal interpretation of the Sign Ordinance causes undue hardship to the sign user.  The hardship is due to conditions unique to that property and does not apply generally to other properties in the Township.

D. The granting of the variance would not be contrary to the general objectives of the Sign Ordinance.

12. Once the Zoning Board has reviewed the variance request in light of the aforementioned findings, they can make a decision.  The decision reached by the Zoning Board of Appeals must be reached by a positive affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  If the request does not receive at least three (3) votes it is denied.

13. The decision reached by the Zoning Board of Appeals is final.  Any party aggrieved by the Board’s decision may appeal to the Circuit Court having local jurisdiction.